Maintaining a Beginner’s Mind

What is a beginner's mind?

Some people consider themselves experts and neglect the opportunity of learning something new. Therefore, it is essential to approach things with a beginner's mind as it provides us more chances for growth and learning.

Nick Kemp explains what a beginner's mind is and why it is vital to practice such.

Do you consider yourself an expert?

Well if you do, you might want to read this book: Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki. I’d like to quote from the book:

The mind of the beginner is empty, free of the habits of the experts, ready to accept, ready to doubt, and open to all possibilities.”

So I like this idea of having and maintaining a beginner’s mind which is the Zen term: shoshin. When we embrace and maintain a beginner’s mind, it opens up lots of learning opportunities, lots of contemplation, and it helps us be present. 

Then when we become the expert, we become dismissive, we act or feel as if we already know, and that can create problems. 

A good example of that would be the Venn diagram: many people believe that this Venn diagram is the ikigai concept. It actually has very little to do with ikigai. 

So this got me thinking about Japanese words like ikigai, wabi-sabi, and I found another quote from the book Shinto: The Kami Way. I’d like to quote:

It is impossible to make explicit and clear that which fundamentally by its very nature is vague.”

So many of these words, wabi-sabi, ikigai, are vague by nature. To have the desire to fully understand them, we need to take on a beginner’s mind. 

I think the problem in the West, is we like to quickly define things, and then once we have a definition, we feel we know and some of us might even call ourselves experts. Again, a good example of that is the Venn diagram. 

Rather than calling yourself an expert, open yourself up to learning opportunities with a beginner’s mind.


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